Schumer says federal government is not doing enough to combat coronavirus

Mar 11, 2020

With over 200 cases and counting, coronavirus continues to spread in New York.

Credit WBFO / WBFO News

After an outbreak in the downstate city of New Rochelle, Gov. Andrew Cuomo last weekend declared a state of emergency

Citing New York State as the country’s epicenter of the pandemic, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said he believes the federal government is not doing enough to address what he sees are various problems with its response to the virus.

“The real problem is a federal problem,” he said. “There are nowhere near enough testing kits for the community from the federal government. And as you know, when you can’t test you don’t know who has the virus, who doesn’t. It leads to further spreading of the virus, and it leads to all sorts of panic among people who think they might be exposed but have no way of knowing.”

Schumer is asking the government to provide states better access to testing kits.

“Expedite the approval of labs who are ready and willing to provide testing,” he said. “Every lab that is able to provide testing should be up and running as soon as possible.”

Schumer is also asking the Trump Administration to provide daily updates on the volume of available test kits and set up an office within the Department of Health and Human Services responsible for the management and distribution of the kits.

So far, Schumer said the lack communication at the federal level is causing confusion among local municipalities.

“The conflicting reports, the lack of information has left cities, states and communities unable to plan,” he said. “This is their obligation. I know that the President sometimes wants to downplay the problem. That will only make it worse.”

Last week, Schumer helped negotiate a bipartisan bill for $8.3 billion in emergency funding to combat the coronavirus spread. He said his concern is making sure people who may want to get tested will not have to worry about paying unexpected medical expenses.